The London bar scene is known for being pretty fantastic. The wide selection of amazing venues on offer in the English capital has enchanted tourists and locals for decades now, and the future looks bright. From top class cocktails to craft beer, there really is a place for everything in this city and it’s a source of much critical acclaim. So much so that London is actually known internationally for the quality of its bar life and the variety that they offer.
What often gets overlooked however, is the role of hotel bar. In the past, these little hideaways were the elite establishments, the places where the rich could enjoy a stiff drink. The best hotel bars in London often dwarfed the rest of the city’s offering by such an extent that people who weren’t even staying there would regularly visit them. These days though, competition is fierce. Their sparkling reputation is no longer enough to lure customers through the door, and most have needed to adapt.
The solutions that have been devised are varied. Some have been utter failures, whilst others have been inventive masterpieces of reinvention. It’s the latter category that dominates this list of the top 10 hotel bars in London. These creative souls have created some of the city’s most desirable venues, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that some of that old prestige is coming back to the hotel bar.
Situated in the Berkeley, the Blue Bar is, well, blue. From the gorgeous pastels coloured walls, the deep sea shades of the leather, everything here is centred around these gorgeous shades. The drinks, sadly, are their usual colours, but excellent nonetheless. It’s a relaxed but thoroughly stylish place to drink and mingle.
Blue Bar is located at: Wilton Pl, Knightbridge, London SW1X 7RL
To find out more please visit: http://www.the-berkeley.co.uk/knightsbridge-bars/blue-bar/
Sumptuous black leather, dark wood and cream panelling make this one of the more indulgent bars in the capital. The focus is clearly on quality, an attitude that is reflected in the excellent drinks list, which includes some real stormers. It’s not the most inventive place in the city, but the drinks they do make come highly recommended.
Connaught Bar is located at: Connaught Hotel, 16 Carlos Pl, London
To find out more please visit: http://www.the-connaught.co.uk/mayfair-bars/connaught-bar/
Shoreditch house isn’t easy to get into. In fact, that might be a bit of an understatement: it’s a nightmare even trying to get in. A member’s club with strong links to the creative industries, it’s a place for writers, artists and general flaneurs of the world to meet. If you can get in however, you’ll be treated to a cosy little space that just oozes with class and style.
Shoreditch House is located at: Ebor Street, Shoreditch, London E1 6AW
To find out more please visit: http://www.shoreditchhouse.com/
An easy inclusion on our list of the top 10 hotel bars in London, Dukes is iconic. Not for its drinks, or its location or its atmosphere but for the character it inspired. It was in this very bar that the figure of James Bond was first conceived, shaped and eventually written by Ian Fleming. A martini, shaken not stirred of course, here feels like an obligation. Luckily, they make a good one.
Dukes Bar is located at: 35 St James Place, London
To find out more please visit: http://www.dukeshotel.com/foodanddrink-dukesbar.php
The exocticism that is infused into the Mandarin bar makes it unusual. The whole space is full of oriental touches and great swathes of eastern art hang from its walls. It manages to avoid cheesiness however, which is a feat in and of itself. Instead, it presents an atmosphere that’s modern and culturally varied, a great example of how to take elements from abroad and make them work as a theme.
Mandarin Bar is located at: Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA
To find out more please visit: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/london/fine-dining/mandarin-bar/
The Rivoli looks expensive. Everything about it is just dripping with luxurious charm, and the prices reflect that. £16 is the starting rate for a cocktail. £16… Normally this would immediately preclude it from this list, but the drinks are really quite excellent. It’s an expensive treat to drink here, but it’s also one that is definitely worthwhile.
The Rivoli is located at: The Ritz, 150 Piccadilly, London W1J 9BR
To find out more please visit: http://www.theritzlondon.com/Rivoli.html
With all this dark wood and leather, you may want something a little more relaxed. The Bassoon bar is cooler than smooth jazz, and is the ideal place to go for a good drink with little pretension.
Bassoon Bar is located at: 1 Whitehall Pl, London SW1A
To find out more please visit: http://www.corinthia.com/hotels/london/dining-and-bars/bars/bassoon-bar/
Lobby Bar at One Aldwych
The flowers are in such abundance at One Aldwych set the tone in beautiful crescendo of colours. This is a place that puts a lot of emphasis on the little things. When it comes to the drinks, that means muddling gin with sage, or importing lemons from the Italian coast to ensure their excellence. The effort is well appreciated.
One Aldwych is located at: 1 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BZ
To find out more please visit: http://www.onealdwych.com/food-drink/lobby-bar
Dark and brooding, Beaufort bar was an easy inclusion on this list of the top Hotel bars in London. The entire area is thoroughly unique, eschewing the usual cream and blue favoured by other bars for a much more sombre palette. It feels mature and the crowd that drink here certainly are. This isn’t the kind of place where sugary pink cocktails will get you lightly tipsy that’s for sure.
To find out more please visit: http://www.fairmont.com/savoy-london/dining/beaufortbar/
Artesian is simply stunning. From the ornate and robust light fittings to the shelves of liquor, to the incredibly unique drinks on offer, it blows you away from the second you walk in. The cocktail menu is sensational, offering a perfect blend of classic flavours and invention that will stun most. The Langham Martini is the best, somehow reinventing the wheel with an absolutely stunning edge.
Artesian is located at: 1C Portland Place, Regent Street, London W1B 1JA
To find out more please visit: http://www.artesian-bar.co.uk/